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LIU      DISRUPTION OF SELJUK EMPIRE     127
tion with Othman of Samarcand and aided by the treachery
of Guchluk, as detailed in Chapter LV., he retrieved his
lost laurels and was able to annex the western provinces
of the Kara Khitai Empire. In A.H. 607 (1210), the year
following this successful campaign, he captured Samarcand
and, killing Othman who had accepted his suzerainty but
had rebelled, made it his capital.
But this did not complete the conquests of Mohamed,
for he annexed the Indian provinces of the Ghorid dynasty,
and finally absorbed the two provinces of Ghor and
Ghazna. In the archives of Ghazna letters were found
from the Caliph Nasir, urging the Ghorid Princes to
unite with the Kara Khitai against Khwarazm. Incensed
at this proof of hostility, in A.H. 612 (1216) Mohamed
summoned a council at Khiva, which deposed Nasir as
an assassin and enemy of the faith, and nominated a
descendant of AH to the Caliphate1. Thus, fortified with
legal documents, he advanced into Persia, captured Sad,
the Atabeg of Pars, and put to flight the Atabeg of
Azerbaijan. Mohamed was met by an envoy of the
Caliph, whom he treated with contempt, and from
Hamadan he was marching against Baghdad, which lay
at his mercy, when an extraordinary fall of snow accom-
panied by extreme cold caused him to abandon the
enterprise, and Baghdad was saved.
The Atabegs*—To complete the survey of the dynasties
into which Persia had again been broken up, some
account must be given of the Atabegs or " Regents."
This was a title conferred upon the slaves, or their
descendants, who acted as " father-lords "—for that is the
exact meaning of the word—to their young masters, and
in many cases gained independence and founded dynasties.
Salghar, from whom the Pars dynasty was descended, was
the chief of a Turkoman band which joined Toghril Beg,
and was taken into his service. The member of the
family who actually founded the dynasty was Sunkur,
who gained possession of Pars in A.H. 543 (1148) and
maintained his independence against the Seljuks. He
was an excellent ruler and was devoted to Shiraz, his
capital. The two next Atabegs call for no particular